Franklin Castle one of several luxury homes on the market

The Franklin Castle in Tahlequah sits on a hill perched over the Town Branch Creek.

While certain regions of states like California and New York are known for their luxurious homes, high-end real estate can be found even in Cherokee County, Oklahoma.

There are several properties in the area that are worth more than seven figures, including one that many locals are accustomed to seeing and also celebrating inside of.

The Franklin Castle, located on College Avenue near Northeastern State University, has stood since the 1930s and currently serves as a wedding venue, but is listed as residential property going for $1.1 million. It’s been on the market for less than six months, but Janet Prewitt, realtor at Coldwell Banker Select-Cochran Real Estate, said it’s such a unique home that she doesn’t think it will be difficult to sell.

“I actually have it listed as a residence, because it’s very livable,” she said. “You could move in today and live in it.”

Many folks in the area are familiar with the historic home, as its crenelated towers on each corner of the home overlook the Town Branch Creek, making it a recognizable location for any who lay eyes on the structure. The residence has had some changes over the years, since it was first built by Marion E. Franklin in the early.

“Mr. Franklin taught industrial arts at the university,” said Prewitt. “His class did an architectural project and designed the castle. Then he actually had them help work on it.”

According to past Daily Press articles, the final plans called for a striation of almost 3,000 square feet with five bedrooms, one full bathroom, and two half bathrooms. The 18-inch walls were constructed using hollow red tiles on the inside, while it was faced with concrete and stone on the outside. They were useful for retaining heat in the winter and reduced the speed of summer temperatures creeping into the home. The Franklins are believed to have lived in the castle for more than 60 years.

Mike Shelton purchased the property in 2015 after reading about it in the Tulsa World one day. Prewitt said Shelton, the owner of a masonry business, had experience in restoring aging buildings and helped revamp its appearance and main components.

“He replaced a lot of the wiring, replaced a lot of the plumbing, replaced the floors and put down rock,” she said. “He left the old boiler in the downstairs part. It’s not in operation, but he did leave it. What they used as a storage for the coal, he turned into a wine cellar. He also made a room downstairs that was once the garage.”

Those thinking of purchasing the Franklin Castle might be happy to know the massive walls are not as necessary for blocking out the elements, as two new central heating and air units have been installed. A large balcony was also constructed, which is accessible from both outside and inside the home. And Prewitt said the new windows were found somewhere in Italy. She called the entire residence itself “an experience.”

“It’s beyond words as far as I’m concerned,” she said. “He stayed with all of the original house that he possibly could – the wood included, which was a lot of it. A lot of the doors are the same. He did put new flooring in it. He also did redo the plaster to reproduce what was there originally.”

Although much of the inside has been renovated or restored, the structure itself remains the same as it did when Franklin and his students first built it. The interior still contains the original fireplace, furnace and coal chute. In 1963, a retaining wall and sidewalk were constructed alongside the home, as College Avenue was extended to include a new bridge that now crosses the creek. Within its retaining walls, Prewitt said the grounds remain unsullied year-round.

“He keeps the grounds pristine,” said Prewitt. “I don’t care if it’s winter, summer or whenever. In the spring time, it has a lot of blooms and is just quite something to see.”

For those interested in the Franklin Castle, visit

This is the first in a two-part series on high-end real estate around the Cherokee County area. The next part will focus on modern homes and the current status of seven-figure homes, both on and off the market.

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